Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar
As the closest monument to the Bab al-Mahruq entrance to Al-Azhar Park, this mosque makes a good landmark for finding your way there....
Mosque of Al-Maridani
About 150m further on the right of the Mosque of Qijmas al-Ishaqi, this 1339 building incorporates architectural elements from several...
Mosque of Qijmas al-Ishaqi
One of the best examples from this period is this 1481 mosque, at the north end of the street on the east side. Don’t be deceived by the...
Al-Azhar Park’s 300-seat open-air theatre hosts touring Western artists, stars from the Middle East and locals. Shows are often free...
Sharia Salah Salem · interesting places nearby
Al-Azhar Park information
Cairo’s eastern horizon changed substantially when this green space opened in 2005. With funds from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, what had been a mountain of garbage, amassed over centuries, was transformed into the city’s first (and only) park of significant size. A profusion of gardens, emerald grass, even a lake (part of a larger public water-supply system) cover the grounds, while ambient Arabic music drifts softly from speakers and fountains bubble in front of sleek modern Islamic architecture. It’s most fun on weekends, when families make a day out with picnics.
Depending on your outlook, the park is a gorgeous respite or a weirdly isolated elite playground. This was offset slightly when the Bab al-Mahruq entrance, through a medieval gate in the old Ayyubid walls, finally opened in 2009. This granted easier access for residents of the lower-income Darb al-Ahmar district. You can enter here before 6pm, but after dark you can only exit through the main park gates on Sharia Salah Salem (taxis wait but overcharge; microbuses go to Ataba for E£2).
Technically entry at Bab al-Mahruq is only E£2, but you’ll have a hard time convincing the guard you deserve the subsidised ‘downhill’ price. While you’re down here, check out the ongoing excavations of the Ayyubid walls – one major achievement was the rediscovery of Bab al-Barqiya, which had long ago been lost under the trash heap.
In addition to a couple of small cafes and the open-air theatre El Genaina, there’s an excellent restaurant here, Citadel View, capitalising on the park’s views across the medieval city and beyond. For a less substantial investment, Alain Le Notre serves salads, wraps and ice cream, and the Lakeside Restaurant , on the other side of the park, serves more modest food like fuul (fava bean) and Lebanese manaeesh (flat bread).